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First Read's Morning Clips: 'Pocahontas'

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump meets with Navajo Code Talkers, Fleming Begaye Sr., seated and Thomas Begay, center, in the Oval Office of the White House on Nov. 27, 2017 in Washington.Susan Walsh / AP

TRUMP AGENDA: “They call her Pocahontas”

Driving today’s agenda: “President Trump’s rocky relationship with Capitol Hill faces a crucial test Tuesday in a meeting with top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders that could edge the government closer to a year-end bipartisan fiscal deal — or a federal shutdown. Leaders in both parties spent Monday preparing to make their case to an unpredictable president who abruptly sided with Democrats the last time he sat down with top leaders,” writes the Washington Post.

Republican defections could mean big changes for the tax bill.

More, from the New York Times: “The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans, as party leaders race to shore up wavering lawmakers who are requesting more help for high-earning business owners. On Monday, as Republican lawmakers returned to Washington determined to quickly pass their tax overhaul, senators were in feverish talks to resolve concerns that could bedevil the bill’s passage. With pressure increasing on Republicans to produce a legislative victory, lawmakers are contemplating changes that would exacerbate the tax bill’s divide between the rich and the middle class.”

And from the Wall Street Journal: “One group, including Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Steve Daines (R., Mont.), wants deeper tax cuts for so-called pass-through businesses such as partnerships and S corporations that pay taxes on individual rather than corporate tax returns. Both said they want to prevent large corporations from deducting state and local taxes, freeing up money to drive down rates for pass-through firms. They said they would like to support a tax bill but can’t do so yet. Another group, including Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) and James Lankford (R., Okla.), is concerned about the $1.4 trillion addition to budget deficits the bill would cause, and these senators are wary that it won’t generate enough economic growth to pay for itself.”

NBC’s Ali Vitali recaps yesterday’s “Pocahontas” controversy: “President Donald Trump revived his derogatory nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Monday, referring to her as "Pocahontas" during an event honoring Native American veterans at the White House. Trump told the veterans: "You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.’”

NBC’s Danny Cevallos looks at how the CFPB dispute hinges on a single word.

The New York Times: “Alex M. Azar II, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has expressed concern about the soaring cost of prescription drugs for many consumers… Democratic senators say that, as a top manager at Eli Lilly and Company, he was responsible for steep increases on insulin and other drugs. How he would now tackle that problem as secretary, along with the future of the Affordable Care Act, promises to dominate the hearings.”

“Ivanka Trump's solo outing to a business conference in India was met by a bit of a collective yawn on the streets of the technological hub city of Hyderabad,” write NBC’s Ed Flanagan and Sanjay Jha.

In the New York Times: “Trump Paid Over $1 Million in Labor Settlement, Documents Reveal”

And from the Detroit News, another Conyers accuser: “A former staffer of U.S. Rep. John Conyers said the veteran lawmaker made unwanted sexual advances toward her, including inappropriate touching, adding to allegations by other unnamed former employees that have prompted a congressional investigation. Deanna Maher, Conyers’ former deputy chief of staff who ran his downriver office from 1997 to 2005, told The Detroit News that the Detroit Democrat made unwanted advances toward her three times. Maher is the second former Conyers staffer to go public with accusations about the veteran lawmaker. Conyers on Sunday stepped aside as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee amid a congressional ethics probe of sexual harassment allegations involving former staffers.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Roy Moore is being outspent over airwaves by 10-1 margin

AL-SEN: From one of us(!): “Democrat Doug Jones is outspending embattled Republican Roy Moore by nearly 10 to one in Alabama’s closely watched Senate race, but his message on the airwaves over the past three weeks hasn’t completely focused on the sexual misconduct scandal that has enveloped Moore. According to the ad-tracking group Advertising Analytics LLC, Jones’ campaign has shoveled $5.6 million into television and radio ads during the general election, compared to about $600,000 by Moore’s team.”

This is really something. From the Washington Post: “A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets. In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.”

The AP gives a good overview of the state of the race here.

And in the New York Times: “[N]early a week after Mr. Trump essentially offered his renewed endorsement for Mr. Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct or unwanted advances involving teenage girls, the president’s words and tweets seem to have done little to stabilize or strengthen Mr. Moore’s campaign. Instead, Mr. Moore and his supporters are already finding the outer boundaries of the White House’s tepid embrace — and, more crucially, the limits of just how much Mr. Trump’s support means in a state where he is widely popular.”

A former aide to John Kelly is mounting a last-ditch write-in campaign.

IL-4: Luis Gutierrez won’t run for reelection, NBC 5 reports.

More, from the Chicago Tribune: “Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia plans to start gathering signatures on Tuesday to seek Gutierrez’s congressional seat, the sources said. And 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz plans to run for Garcia’s County Board seat, they added… Gutierrez, an immigration reform advocate with a high national profile on the issue, has been in Congress since 1993, representing the 4th District. He turns 64 next month. That long tenure has led to a lot of pent-up political ambition, and Gutierrez’s retirement provides an opportunity for candidates who can quickly put together a campaign. Also contemplating a run for Gutierrez’s spot in Congress is freshman 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. Earlier this year, Ramirez-Rosa was dropped as a running mate by Democratic governor hopeful Daniel Biss because of the alderman’s views on Israel.”

MI-GOV: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley confirms that he’s running to replace term-limited Rick Snyder.

MN-SEN: Al Franken says it’s too early to say if he’ll run for reelection in 2020.

TX-SEN: Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke has officially filed to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz.